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LV                THE MONGOL CATACLYSM             159
expectation, they did not remain stationary but marched
into Georgia in mid-winter, and being reinforced by
bands of Turkoman and Kurds ravaged the country up
to Tiflis. Returning thence they next besieged Maragha,
which was destined to be the capital of Hulagu Khan,
and this was treated like other cities. The intention of
the leaders was to march on Baghdad, and the Caliph
Nasir in great alarm attempted to organize a force but
failed, partly because of the capture of Damietta by St.
Louis, a disaster which' drew away some of his chief
The difficulty of passing the mountain gorges saved
Baghdad on this occasion, and the Mongols returned to
Hamadan, which they now sacked. From this city they
marched on Ardebil, which they also sacked, and then
returned to Tabriz, where they were once again bought
.off. Georgia was revisited, and by a pretended retreat its
army was ambushed and cut to pieces. After this exploit
the Mongols struck the Caspian Sea at Shamaka, near
Baku, and followed it up to Darband. Not content with
these limits, the fearless horde passed beyond the Caucasus
and drove out the Kipchaks, who fled in terror across the
Danube or into Russia. The Muscovite princes organized
a force to repel the invaders, but near the Sea of Azov
they were defeated and were put to death by being placed
under planks, on which the victors sat and feasted. The
districts near the Sea of Azov were ravaged, and the
Mongols, marching eastwards, crossed the Upper Volga,
where they defeated an army of Bulgars. After this
remarkable military expedition, during the course of
which the Caspian Sea had been almost encircled, they
rejoined the main army in Tartary.
Before we conclude this account of the appalling devas-
tation from which Northern Persia and the countries to
the north of it suffered, it is to be noted that another
Mongol division in A.H. 621 (1224) attacked Rei, Sava,
Kum, Kashan, and Hamadan, massacring the inhabitants
who had escaped from the earlier invasion.
To sum up, the testimony of all contemporary histor-
ians is that wherever the Mongols passed the population